" Oh ! you have been sick ? ' ' replied the bour- geoise, in a voice of sneering severity. " Oh ! you have been sick a long time ? I -warn you, my girl, that the place, though not a very hard one, is of some importance, and that I must have a woman of very good health."
Jeanne tried to repair her imprudent words. She declared:
"Oh! I am cured, quite cured." "That is your affair. Moreover, we haven't reached that yet. You are married or single, which? What are you? " "I am a widow, Madame." " Ah ! You have no child, I suppose ? ' ' And, as Jeanne did not answer directly, the lady insisted, more sharply:
' ' Say, have you children, yes or no ? " "I have a little girl," she confessed, timidly. Then, making grimaces and gestures as if she were scattering a lot of flies, she cried:
"Oh! no child in the house; no child in the house ; not under any consideration. Where is your little girl? "
" She is with my husband's aunt." "And what is this aunt? " " She keeps a wine-shop in Rouen." "A deplorable calling. Drunkenness and de- bauchery, â€” that is a pretty example for a little girl ! However, that concerns you, that is your affair. How old is your little girl? "